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Petzl ZigZag Caution: but let's not go all gaga!

Richard Tregoweth - Saturday, April 13, 2013

Petzl have released the following statement regarding an incident involving the apparent failure of a ZigZag in Germany.

“Petzl has recently become aware of an incident report involving the ZIGZAG mechanical Prusik.

According to a post on the treeclimber.eu message board, there is a claim that a connection point on the ZIGZAG broke, resulting in a ground fall.

Petzl has not yet confirmed the failure or seen the ZIGZAG in question, nor are we aware of the specific circumstances under which any such incident occurred.

Therefore, we cannot comment on the report at this time.

That said, we would like to assure our customers that Petzl takes this and all safety issues extremely seriously.

We are currently working diligently to collect information and will issue a statement as soon as we have had a chance to review the circumstances surrounding this reported incident".

According to the treeclimber.eu site the top 'gold' eye on the ZigZag catastrophically failed while the climber was manoeuvring through the tree. He plummeted 5m to the ground suffering moderate to severe injuries.

None of us like to hear about tree climbing accidents and we all wish a speedy recovery to the climber involved.

But… puzzling questions need to be answered?

Under normal circumstances catastrophic failure of the top eye on the ZigZag would be very hard to believe.

The top eye is constructed of two independent aluminum plates riveted together, sandwiching a 'holed' metal (ABS plastic?) spacer between the two; that makes three individual components to produce the eye.

In order for the eye to fail, all three components must have been stressed in unison (odds are against stress fractures in each component just happening to come together at the time of manufacture - but you never know).

Also keep in mind, the top eye connection point only takes 50% of the load applied to the device; the other half is shared by the stainless-steel friction links.

There must have been one hell of a load applied to the ZigZag in question for that eye to break.

Treetools is not casting aspersions on the climber involved here but we are confident there is more to this story than meets to eye.

PPE Inspection sheet for ZigZag

Treetools, along with reputable Petzl dealers worldwide, has published the Caution Notice alongside the ZigZag product.

For the safety of our customers, all Petzl dealers are erring on the side of caution - but please remember, at this stage this is NOT a full-blown product recall.

To alleviate any concerns Petzl ZigZag owners might have about their device you can download a ZigZag PPE Inspection Chart here.

The Petzl paper covers all the wear points to look out for. Check your ZigZag thoroughly before any further climbing.

Or… if you are still unhappy about climbing on the ZigZag hold fire until the powers-that-be uncover exactly what happened in this incidence.

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